An upcoming RPG mixes the grim fantasy world of Diablo with the, uh, grim fantasy artwork of Darkest Dungeon in a roleplaying experience powered by a standard deck of playing cards.
Designer-artist Andy Lever’s Abbadon: The Thirteen Seals openly draws inspiration from the two video games in its dark fantasy setting of Haven, into which players’ adventurers must crawl into all manner of gloomy dungeon and mysterious cave in order to stop the emergence of the lord of demons, Diab- I mean, Abbadon.
In place of the dice rolls typical to D&D and its ilk, Abbadon uses a deck of 52 playing cards - plus two jokers - to resolve tests and actions, including combat between players’ weavers and their undead/monstrous foes.
The fate weaver, the game’s GM stand-in, deals cards to players, who must aim for a total value of 13 across their hand - not unlike a variant of blackjack. More cards are added to the player’s default hand of two based on their equipment, skills and other factors. Unlike blackjack, there’s no downside to exceeding 13; with multiples of the target number amplifying a test’s success like a critical hit.
Ahead of a Kickstarter campaign for full rulebook Abbadon: The Thirteen Seals planned to launch this autumn, Lever and publisher Lost Haven Games have released a pay-what-you-want quickstart entitled Abbadon: Blood Tides.
The introductory guide available via DriveThruRPG includes eight re-made characters - two for each of its core archetypes of Elementalist, Faithful, Hexxing and Stalker - along with a ready-made one-shot adventure, in addition to the basic rules.